Latest Update for Businesses

*** On Thursday 26th November the Government announced that Southend-on-Sea will be placed in Tier 2, alongside Essex and Thurrock, starting from Wednesday 2nd December. ***


On Monday 23rd November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave a statement to the House of Commons on the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan. The Prime Minister confirmed that the national restrictions in England will end on 2 December and that the country will move back into a regional tiered approach. These tiers will be tougher than previously. On Thursday 26 November the government is due to announce which areas are in which tier. A postcode checker will also be available to show which restrictions apply in which area. In the meantime guidance on the restrictions that will be applicable in each tier has been published. Please see the key guidance from each area below. The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December, from which time people will be able to leave home for any purpose and meet people outside their household subject to the rule of 6, collective worship and weddings can resume, shops and gyms can reopen (see caveats below).

Tier 1: Medium alert

In tier 1:

  • People must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies.

  • Businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.

  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:

  • Provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol

  • Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)

  • Stop taking orders after 10pm

  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

  • People who live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier should follow the rules for that area while they are there. Travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas should be avoided other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey is permitted.

Tier 2: High alert

In tier 2:

  • People must not socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space.

  • Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.

  • Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:

  • Provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol

  • Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)

  • Stop taking orders after 10pm

  • Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

  • Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

  • Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

  • Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.

  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.

  • People who live in a tier 2 area, must continue to follow tier 2 rules when they travel to a tier 1 area. Travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas should be avoided other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey is permitted.

Tier 3: Very High alert

In tier 3:

  • People must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they do not live with, or who is not in their support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.

  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.

  • Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.

  • Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes: play centres and areas, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, trampolining parks,soft play, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades, adult gaming centres, laser quests and escape rooms, snooker halls

  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (although indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within: zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves, aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions, model villages, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs, visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes, landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms.

  • Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close.

  • There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.

  • Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.

  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

  • Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place.

  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. See full guidance for exceptions.

  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

  • Travel to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays should be avoided, other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through other areas as part of a longer journey is permitted.

See the full guidance for the exemptions from gathering limits in all tiers Other Government updates New venues required to maintain records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace (England) Cinemas, concert venues and theatres have been added to the list of venues that must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus and support NHS Test and Trace. The list of indoor sports and leisure centres has been updated to include gyms. Updates the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance

  • Information on what HMRC may deem to be a reasonable excuse for missing a claim deadline has been added to the claim wages through CJRS page. The guidance has also been updated to make it clear that if a claim deadline falls on the weekend or a bank holiday then claims should be submitted on the next working day.

  • The CJRS calculation guidance has been updated to clarify how to work out 80% of employees average earnings between the date their employment started and the day before they are furloughed.



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